By Amanda Peck
Some seniors include sports as a deciding factor when determining which college to attend. Some, for example, only want to go to a Big 10 or Big 12 school.
However, it is very unlikely that these few in Coppell might consider basing their decision on a school’s hockey program.
Popular universities among the students at Coppell High School include Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas. All of these schools have hockey teams, which is probably a surprise to most of these universities’ prospective students.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know that OU has a hockey team,” senior Olivia Hayden said. “One of the reasons I am thinking about going to OU is that it is a large, Big 12 school, but I think it is even cooler to know that it has a hockey team as well.”
Although hockey is much more prevalent at northern schools, particularly at schools such as Wisconsin and Michigan, southern schools, which are favored by students at CHS, are still competitive and successful.
The Oklahoma men’s hockey team is currently ranked No. 7 in men’s DI by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Texas A&M, Texas and Texas Tech are all DII; A&M is ranked 10th in the West Region
Recruiting for DI and DII college hockey is evolving rapidly due to the amount of skill emerging in high school and club teams. A few years ago, a player recruited as a D1 player might be recruited as a D2 player now. Although hockey recruiting is different from football recruiting in ways such as being able to recruit players from club teams outside of school, it works very similarly.
“College hockey is becoming much more popular than it used to be,” Coppell hockey assistant captain and senior Peter Dempsey said. “I bet most people didn’t even know that a player could receive a scholarship to play hockey in college.”
Collegiate hockey does not receive as much recognition as other college sports. Most college campuses which CHS students will attend next year do not have hockey rinks located on campus, which makes it harder for students to attend games.
“I didn’t know that Texas Tech had a hockey team until this year,” Texas Tech freshman and former CHS student Katie Leonard said. “I haven’t been to a game yet, but sometimes I hear stuff about the team like how well they are doing and such. I would probably go to a game if it was on campus.”
There are other options for players wanting to continue playing hockey in college. There are different level club teams located throughout the country that are just as competitive as the college teams.
No matter the team or organization, college hockey is growing fast. It is predicted to grow even more in upcoming years which will, in return, help college hockey become more well-known among students at college campuses.